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October 19, 2007

Curt Schilling


Q. How tough was it to go home last night and just kind of watch that game and be nervous about whether Josh was going to get you the start tomorrow?
CURT SCHILLING: It obviously was tough. It was tougher, about six hours worth of baseball. I knew in my heart of hearts after that second inning watching him throw that if we got the lead, the game was over. You could see everything about him was -- I could identify with some of that, and he -- I knew he was going to will himself to do something pretty special, and he did.

Q. After your last start you came up to the interview room unsolicited and said, "This one's on me. It's my fault we lost." Going into this start are you carrying that kind of chip on your shoulder? Is there more of a determination coming from where you were?
CURT SCHILLING: I feel that way. It's not a -- I don't know how to phrase it, but I don't ever look at it as a selfless situation, and that it's all on me. But the fact of the matter is I feel that way as a starting pitcher. It's very simple now. I go out and do my job tomorrow and we win, or I don't and we lose. I don't think that that's too much pressure or too little. It's just reality.
We put ourselves in this position, and I helped put us in this position for better or worse. I've got the ball tomorrow, and if I can do what I know I'm capable of doing and I can execute, we can win. And if I don't, then it's going to be very, very tough.
We've got a guy going against us tomorrow night who I don't envision will back up that last start with another bad one, so it's all about me being able to answer the bell and us being able to manufacture some runs against one of the best pitchers in the game.

Q. Through the adjustments you've made this year, is there one that really stands out over the course of the year that has really led you to where you are right now?
CURT SCHILLING: I don't know if there's any one adjustment because all of it is different. I think the one -- if I had to look back at it, I don't know if there's any particular moment, but if I had to look back at one thing that pretty much sealed the deal, it was pretty much my acceptance that I am what I am. Going from being what I felt like was a guy who had somewhat similar stuff to Josh's at my beck and call. To someone who doesn't have that stuff and has to manufacture outs and pitch differently. Once I said to myself, listen, this is what it's going to be. You're not going to reach back and get 96 anymore. And until I could accept that, it was me fighting hitters, me fighting a game plan and me fighting myself. It was counterproductive.
And I think that when John and I -- we've had many, many sit-downs just to kind of talk through this this year, when he finally made it clear to me, listen, the end result, the numbers at the end of the season don't have to change. Just because the stuff is different, there have been guys that have done a whole lot better than I have with a whole lot less physical stuff. There's no reason why I couldn't be that guy. To me it was a matter of a 24-hour period where it turned for me. I felt like, okay, I am what I am, I have what I have and I can excel and be good with this stuff if I just accept it, put a game plan together with it and go out and execute.

Q. Just to follow up, when was that 24-hour period? Was there one moment where you realized this more than another?
CURT SCHILLING: I think it was within a couple starts after coming back from my rehab. As I began to go back and look at and reassess the games I was pitching, sometimes you get out there and you feel like -- before this year I always knew stuff-wise when I'd let go of a ball, okay, that's got some life to it. That's not hittable. And I was a guy who felt like I'm throwing a fastball, you know I'm throwing a fastball and everybody in the park knows I'm throwing a fastball and there's nothing you can do about it. I got past that point when I started to look back and realize it didn't have to be 96 for me to still do that. I made some pitches in some games where I threw fastball in fastball counts to fastball hitters that weren't 95 or 96 and I still got outs, and I said, okay, this can be done. I can do this, and I don't have to go in with the mindset that, gee, I hope I get lucky today, hope to hit the ball at people. I've got to be perfect. I've got to execute more perfectly.
Some people I think get overburdened with that expectation of perfection, and I don't. I'm going to go out tomorrow, I'm going to try and execute 110 to 115 pitches perfectly, and if I miss with two or three, okay. If I can't execute to that degree, I'm going to have trouble winning the game. Right or wrong, fair or foul, it doesn't matter, that's what it is.

Q. Terry was talking about this a little bit earlier, Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS was the bloody sock game, and here you are in the Game 6 game again where you're on the brink of elimination. You talked about it being reality, but how special is this Game 6 for you? How do you describe this as your calling?
CURT SCHILLING: I don't know if I'd look at it like that. One of the things I was thinking about this morning was people -- a lot of people were going to try to draw parallels to the things that happened in 2004, and to some degree maybe you can. To each individual player I think there's a different impact. What it does for me and what it did for me this morning because I thought, listen, I went out against a team, the Yankee lineup in '04 was as good as offense as I've ever faced. I was basically pitching on a broken foot with a lot less stuff than I have now, and I gave up one run over seven innings. There's no excuse for me not to be able to go out tomorrow with what I have now, and if I can execute perfectly, I can pitch as good, if not better. It really made it very clear, I've done a lot better in a lot worse circumstances with a lot worse stuff. So tomorrow is going to be all about execution.
It's really one of the first times I think I've been able to draw on past experience like that in a real positive way.

Q. It's one thing to have supreme confidence when you have great stuff at your beck and call, as you referred to it, and now where you've made this transition, do you have to fight and do you have to overcome any self-doubt at all?
CURT SCHILLING: There's always fear. I mean, I'm scared to death to go out and fail tomorrow. I'm terrified of letting my teammates down and the fan base down and this organization down because they're counting on me to survive, and to get past another day. I'm scared to death to not do well tomorrow. But I'm also very cognizant of the fact that that fear is something that has always driven me and always pushed me.
In no way, shape or form is it a lack of respect for the opponent, but in my mind in October if you're going to have to win a game and your life depends on it, I want to be the guy that you would say, absolutely. We want this guy on the mound. We believe that we have the best chance to win no matter who's pitching against him, other than Josh now. And that fear of failure -- sure, there's a little bit more, I don't want to say concern or doubt because my stuff is different, but the fact of the matter is it's the same.
I know how good I can be, and if I can make myself the best I can possibly be tomorrow, then we have a real good chance to win.

Q. You've made some references to it over the last few months as well, but how much thought do you give to the future and how much are you thinking, is there any consideration that this could be your last game with the Red Sox?
CURT SCHILLING: Just about none. Yes, I mean, I'd certainly looking back on -- last night it did dawn on me, and I'd hate to think I've made my last start as a Boston Red Sock. I don't dwell on it. I have so much going on mentally right now to get ready for tomorrow, it's not something that worries me or that I think about, beyond just the initial thought of it could be all over for me.
No matter how badly I want to come back here and how badly I want to be a part of this, it takes two to tango, and if it's not in the cards on their end, then it's not going to happen. It really is kind of easy in that sense. I want to be here. I hope they want me here. If not, then I could be making one of my last two starts of my career here.

Q. Do you plan to deliver any message to Daisuke before tomorrow's outing, as you did before you left for Anaheim?
CURT SCHILLING: I don't know. I tend to be someone that people don't talk to on a day that I pitch. It's not about being tough or being in a mode or trying to get a game face on. I just feel like on the day I pitch, if someone is going to talk to me, it had better be about making a pitch that night or defensive alignment or something about the game because one of the things about baseball in October is there's a lot of spare time to think bad things or to think things are going to have no impact on the result you're after.
So tomorrow is about getting 27 outs and executing perfectly, and I probably won't have many conversations, outside of people helping me get that done tomorrow.

Q. How much can the team draw off the crowd both tomorrow and possibly if there's a Game 7 on Sunday?
CURT SCHILLING: Hopefully immensely. I really feel like people wanted to pooh-pooh and down-play home-field advantage towards the end of the year, but I don't think any of us belittled it or thought less of it. Playing in Boston is an immense lift for us. These fans, the energy here, and I felt the same on the other side of the fence playing in Cleveland. I thought they had a tremendous home-field advantage in that their fans could do some special things. In the postseason it tends to be -- momentum tends to be really inning to inning or moment to moment.
The other night was a great example. Wakey kept them quiet for four and two-thirds they didn't say a thing. They get a hit, and a goofy play here and there, and all of a sudden 50,000 people are on their feet and the energy is electric. I think the home crowds have played a huge, huge factor in this series, for better or worse, for both teams.

Q. You said as you noted you've reached a different stage in your career. Watching Josh last evening, have you reached a point where you're nostalgic watching that for what you once were able to do, like him, throwing hard?
CURT SCHILLING: Well, if nostalgic means jealous, yeah (laughter).
My God, that was -- like I said, last night there were some tugs on the inner me here watching that thinking that I almost was a little sick about the fact I don't think I really enjoyed it when I was doing it. Watching him do what he did, I'm telling you, I'm watching the game and I'm looking at him, and I knew in the second inning that they were not -- there was just no possible way they were going to score another run.
There were so many little things last night that happened that showed me how locked in he was, watching the way he was pacing himself to the way he was breathing to his demeanor during the Lofton thing, and all the things that he did continually reinforces to me that he was absolutely perfectly locked in and nothing was going to get him away from that. I can remember that, and I can remember the power that that was, and it was literally, I'm out here, you're at the plate, I'm going to throw this pitch and there's really nothing you can do about it. I feel bad for you, but maybe you'll get them next game (laughter).

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